WASHINGTON — If you thought the Lakers were lousy on the road last season, it meant one thing.
You hadn't seen them on the road this season.
To no one's great surprise, the Lakers lost at the home of the Washington Wizards, 116-111, falling to 1-5 away from Staples Center as John Wall and Nene combined for 61 points Tuesday.
BOX SCORE: Washington 116, Lakers 111
Not exactly the Eastern Conference's version of the Tim Duncan-Tony Parker combo, Nene crushed the Lakers down low and Wall blitzed them on drives and mid-range jumpers at Verizon Center.
The Lakers, the road, the many problems so far.
"You expect that out of a young team and a pretty new team," Pau Gasol said, and it was funny to hear someone not refer to the Lakers as old.
The Lakers played without injured 30-somethings Kobe Bryant (Achilles' tendon), Steve Nash (back) and Chris Kaman (back), but Washington went without rapidly improving scorer Bradley Beal because of a stress reaction in his leg.
Not to worry. Wall and Nene easily replaced the 20.6 points Beal was averaging.
After a handful of good defensive efforts, the Lakers (7-8) reverted to a carefree, generous team, allowing the Wizards (6-8) to shoot 52.9% and score a season-high 56 points in the paint.
Nene's 30 points were a career high and Wall's 31 points and nine assists were something to admire.
The Lakers also had problems protecting the ball. Their 17 turnovers led to 28 Wizards points.
"That killed us," Lakers Coach Mike D'Antoni said. "I thought some of the passes were very, 'Wow!' You didn't just pass that ball, we gave it to them. They're quick, they're fast and maybe they surprised us a little bit. We turned it over in a manner that [often] led to an easy fastbreak. You get John Wall out there, you're not catching him."
The Lakers will almost surely fail to improve upon their 16-25 mark on the road last season, their worst since 2004-05. If not for Steve Blake's last-second three-pointer in Houston, they would be staring at 0-6 away from home.
Their worst road record ever was 9-32, which happened twice in the 1970s but presumably not this season when Bryant returns.
Jordan Farmar had his best game since returning to the Lakers, 22 points and eight assists, and Nick Young had 16 points despite being lightly booed whenever he touched the ball, fans remembering that he spent almost five full seasons with the Wizards.
It doesn't get much better for the Lakers, who have A) another road game Wednesday at Brooklyn and B) a back-to-back situation as well.
They are 0-3 on the second night of back-to-backs, their average margin of defeat 18 points.
"We have to learn how to win with this team," D'Antoni said. "It's just put together and we don't have one thing that we go to all the time, but we'll get it straight. They're playing hard and they're together and we should have won [Tuesday]."